Slug-eating pests eat decorative plant leaves, veggies, flowers, bulbs, shrubs, and fruits. Irregular holes in leaves, stripped vegetation, and dead plants are all symptoms of slug damage. At night, especially when it’s humid, soft, slimy black or brown slugs cause the most damage to gardens.
The slime trails slugs leave on paths and stems are a good indication of their activity, in addition to the damage they do to plants. You’ll learn about the finest natural strategies for slugs to go away for good in this article. To lower the number of natural slugs and prevent them from eating your plants, you can use a variety of slug control methods. Slugs will also be discussed, as well as how to save your flowers, veggies, shrubs, and decorative plants.
What Are Slugs?
Slugs belong to the phylum Mollusca and class Gastropoda, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Slugs create a glossy appearance by producing a mucus-coated outer layer. Slug species number in the thousands. Slugs vary in size, from the little black slug (Arion ater) to the huge leopard slug (Limax maximus), which is 8 inches (20 cm) long.
What Does a Slug Look Like?
A slug is a fat, slick worm that resembles a snail without a shell. Slugs have two tentacles at the front of their head and are soft cylindrical creatures. When slugs move around gardens, eating plants, they produce mucus from their foot or belly. Brown or black slugs dominate most gardens.
What Do Slugs Eat?
Slugged hosta leaves, flowers, stems, fruit, tuberous roots, and bulbs are all eaten by slugs. Slug appetites are especially strong on delicate foliage, and seedlings can be devoured quickly. Slug species eat tulips, gerberas, delphiniums, and hostas as part of their diets.
Potatoes, peas, lettuce, celery, and beans are all eaten by Pesky brown and black slugs. In many ecosystems, slugs are critical. Slugs are useful for certain tasks, such as in a compost heap, even in the garden. Slug species, on the other hand, can be serious pests in gardens if there are too many.
Where Do Slugs Live?
Slugs prefer damp, humid conditions with abundant moisture. Slugs can be found hiding under debris, pots, mulch, rocks, and overgrown plants all day. So that they don’t dehydrate and dry out, the slimy creatures must stay in cool, damp places.
What Eats Slugs?
Knowing what slug-eating creatures are can help you keep the slugs in check. Worm-like mollusks Chickens, ducks, some birds, and toads are all slug predators. Slugs and snails are eaten by certain kinds of beetles. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever be able to eliminate slugs from your garden.
Nonetheless, encouraging slug-eating species such as birds and insects may help reduce their population.
Slug eggs appear to be clusters of translucent or white oval pearl-like balls with roughly 40 eggs in each cluster. Close-up pictures of slug eggs Slugs deposit their eggs near the surface of the soil, frequently beneath leaves or rotting vegetation. The average time it takes for Slug eggs to hatch is two to four weeks.
Slug eggs deposited in October will not hatch until the following spring in colder areas. Slugs can lay eggs in a variety of locations in your garden, but keeping it free of piles of old leaves or other organic matter may help. You can eliminate egg clusters by tiling the ground, which will also show you where eggs have been laid and allow you to devour them.
Slug damage on plants can be eliminated by knowing how to recognize symptoms of slug damage. The most prevalent harm that slugs cause is nibbling holes in foliage. Slug damage produces circular holes in leaves, as well as ragged margins, if you look closely. Missing seedlings are another indication that you have a slug problem in the spring. Overnight, garden slugs can kill young seedlings.
Tuberous veggies and bulbous plants are also attacked by slugs. Slug species feed on the roots of crops and bulb plants, chewing holes in them. If slugs are munching through the roots, you may observe that plant foliage is weak. Above-ground black or brown slugs may also bite leaf margins, giving them a scalloped appearance.
Slug Beer Trap
Beer traps are a great way to get rid of slugs in gardens. Half-fill a tiny plastic or metal bucket with beer and place it on the ground to attract slugs, then make a Slug Beer Trap. Slug beer traps attract slugs of all sizes due to the scent of yeast. You must replace the yeasty liquid in the beer trap every few days in order for it to be effective against slugs.
In addition, beetles that eat slugs may be attracted to beer traps. Keep the trap’s lip 1″ to 2″ (2.5 – 5 cm) above ground level to avoid killing beneficial beetles. Since they can’t get out, the plant-curing slugs climb up and inside the cage, fall into the beer, and drown.
Beer traps, according to some gardeners, attract too many slugs. Some, on the other hand, dispute that the yeasty beer’s aromas travel far. As a result, you’ll have to test out whether placing beer traps is effective for you. Slug beer traps have also been shown to be effective according to scientific studies.
Homebrew slug beer traps were compared to commercial slug beer traps by scientists. Beer traps captured just as many slugs as high-end traps, according to the study. According to the research, installing a beer trap for slugs in a garden is an inexpensive way to get rid of them.
How to make a homemade beer trap for slugs
Collect margarine or yogurt tubs, for example. Around the top, make a few holes. Dig a hole large enough for the tub, but about 2 inches (5 cm) above the surface. Fill each container with 3″ (7.5 cm) of beer. Put the tub’s lid on tight.
Every few days, check the beer traps for dead slugs and replace the liquid as needed. While slugs seem to be fat and slimy, some garden slugs may grow up to 8 inches (20 cm). In order to reach their favorite tipple, they should squeeze through relatively tiny openings. The traps are protected from being lethal to beneficial insects by the lids.
Slug beer trap alternative – yeast trap for slugs
You may use a yeast solution in a slug trap as an alternative to beer. One tablespoon of yeast, flour, and sugar should be mixed in a cup of water. Pour the liquid into the traps to attract slugs and kill them. You know the yeast beer trap is working if your garden shows fewer signs of slug damage, such as chewed leaves and silvery slime trails.
How to Get Rid of Slugs
What are other ways to manage slugs in a garden that aren’t chemical? Keep reading to learn more about how to get rid of garden slugs and protect your plants.
Iron Chelate to Get Rid of Slugs
To get rid of bothersome plant-nibbling slugs, use iron chelate. It’s a cost-effective and successful option. The substance affects the slugs’ digestive system because they eat chelated iron. The impacted slugs molt, stop feeding, and go underground, where they perish. Slug bait is deadly to slugs, but it isn’t harmful to animals, pets, or people. You may use natural snail bait in your garden by purchasing it.
These iron-based slug pellets will kill slugs and snails and continue to work in damp weather, which is advantageous. They were discovered to be as effective as other common molluscicides containing hazardous chemicals, according to scientific tests using 5% iron chelate.
Melon Rinds to Help Get Rid of Garden Slugs
Place melon rinds skin side up in your yard to trap and kill slugs. Slugs like to live in environments that have been created by melon rinds. In the evening, when slugs are most likely to be present in your garden, you place the inverted melon rinds there. Slugs are drawn to the melon.
Afterwards, turn the melon rinds over for birds to come and consume the slugs in the morning. The melon rind technique for slugs is said to be successful, according to the University of Maryland. Nevertheless, placing the slug traps every evening and then removing the slugs to kill them or let birds consume them requires care.
Make Slug Traps Using Boards to Catch Slugs
You may use boards to trap slugs in the same way that you utilize melons to capture and kill them. At night, place the boards between crop rows. To get protection from the sun, the slugs will seek shelter underneath the boards. Flip the boards over in the afternoon to reveal the slugs. To kill the slugs for good, pick them all and put them in a bucket of boiling, scented water.
Biological Control to Kill Slugs in Your Garden
To get rid of a huge number of these slimy, obese slugs, attract slug predators to your garden. Several birds, particularly thrushes, enjoy slugs as a favorite meal. Birds will repay you by devouring slugs if you construct a bird-friendly garden with birdhouses and baths.
Attracting common ground beetles and fireflies is another biological technique of reducing slug populations. Slugs are also a favorite meal of toads and frogs.
Treat Soil With Nematodes to Kill Slugs Naturally
Nematode-parasitic slugs may be used to naturally exterminate garden slugs without toxic chemicals. A variety of slug species are infected and killed by the microscopic worm Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita. The nematodes infect the slug and release bacteria as they enter its body.
The slug’s feeding is then affected, and it stops eating leaves as a result. The slugs die as a result of their actions. According to research, organic farming with slug-parasitic nematodes is feasible. In addition, insect species and animals are unaffected by these slug and snail parasitic worms.
Homemade Slug Baits for Getting Rid of Slugs
You may try different baits to get rid of slugs naturally, in addition to using beer to attract and kill them. For instance, you might pour molasses or cornmeal into slug traps in lieu of water. The efficacy of these do-it-yourself slug baits, on the other hand, has never been shown.
How to Prevent Slugs
Slugs can be prevented from entering your garden by taking the following steps: Slug habitats are disrupted by some gardening procedures, forcing them to search for food and reproduce elsewhere. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective slug prevention methods.
Use Copper Barriers to Prevent Slugs
Slugs may be prevented from climbing up plants and eating their leaves, flowers, and fruit by using copper barriers. Others claim that slugs are repelled by the presence of copper wire around plants. The slug is shocked when copper reacts with its slime. You might try wrapping the frame of your raised vegetable beds with copper tape if you utilize them. Although some individuals believe that copper barriers are very successful, there is no evidence to support this.
Avoid Mulching for Natural Slug Control
Avoid mulching around your plants if you have a slug problem. Slugs prefer to hide beneath mulch, which is cool and damp. Also, clean up any trash and weeds that have grown around your decorative bushes and plants. Slugs won’t have anywhere to hide if you have little trees, shrubs, or plants in pots that are sitting on the ground.
Good Gardening Habits Help Prevent Slugs in Gardens
Slugs are discouraged from coming into your garden by keeping your garden neat and tidy. Slugs can be prevented by doing regular weeding. Any logs, boards, rocks, or plant detritus that aren’t required should also be removed.
Drip Irrigation Methods Help Reduce Slug Numbers in Your Garden
Water your plants with a drip irrigation system to help avoid significant slug problems in your garden. To prevent slugs from loving your garden environment, drip irrigation is used to keep gardens as dry as possible. Watering your garden plants in the morning is also a great idea since it will make living with slugs in your garden more unpleasant.
Diatomaceous earth could help prevent slugs
Slugs may be kept off your plants by sprinkling a layer of diatomaceous earth (DE) on them. DE is a non-toxic insecticide that can be used to kill a variety of pestiferous garden insects. Since its pointed edges slice through exoskeletons, DE works in gardens against insects. Slugs can be treated with diatomaceous earth.
Slugs and snails are known to climb up to the diatomaceous earth barrier and then stop, according to some gardeners. DE, on the other hand, is only effective when it’s dry, and it has no pesticide or deterrent properties when it’s wet. Slugs are most active when it’s wet out. As a result, in some cases, diatomaceous earth might be effective against snails.
4 Myths About Getting Rid of Slugs from Your Garden
There are a slew of false beliefs regarding how to naturally get rid of slugs from your yard. Coffee Grinds, Cornmeal, Crushed Eggs, and Mulch are some of the most popular ineffective slug remedies. A multi-pronged strategy is required to eliminate garden slugs. However, it is critical to utilize only effective strategies.
Here are four popular myths about natural ways to get rid of garden slugs:
Myth #1 — Coffee grounds help rid of slugs
Coffee grounds are thought to be a barrier to slugs, according to the theory. Slugs are said to be repelled by a circle of coffee grounds surrounding plants. Several individuals, on the other hand, are dissatisfied when they attempt to use coffee grounds for slugs. Slugs have no trouble crossing through coffee grounds.
A research on caffeine sprays might have inspired the myth that coffee grounds are effective against slugs. Spraying slugs with 2% caffeine spray proved to be a slug deterrent, according to scientists. The caffeine in a 2% caffeine solution, on the other hand, is far more powerful than what you get from a cup of coffee.
Myth #2 — Kill slugs with eggshells
Crushed eggshells are said to scratch slugs’ bellies as they crawl over them, killing them. Eggshells are thought to be capable of slicing slugs to death or at least putting a stop to them.
Slug deterrence is not achieved by eggshells. Eggshells, which are rich in calcium, can be used in the garden. Eggshells are also an excellent source of fertilizer and a chicken feed supplement.
Myth #3 — Use cornmeal to eradicate slugs
Another common misconception about slug remedies in the garden is that cornmeal is required. Slugs and snails are said to devour cornmeal, eventually killing the mollusks in their stomachs as it expands. Despite the fact that the hypothesis seems to be valid, it is not true. Cornmeal will be consumed by slugs, but they will not perish.
Myth #4 — Barks and mulch deter slugs
Slugs are more likely to be attracted by bark and mulch than repelled. The eggshell myth is similar to the one about using mulch to eliminate slugs. Slugs are supposed to be deterred by the sharp edges of bark chippings and mulch. Slugs don’t like having to crawl across harsh, dry surfaces, of course.
Mulch, on the other hand, will not keep them off your plants. Mulch has the potential to draw additional slugs in reality. Slugs prefer to lay their eggs in a mulch, dead leaves, and bark chips environment.